The market began in November 2003 at the Pochote Cultural Center
with the support of Oaxacan artist Francisco
Toledo. The market moved several times in 2004 and returned
to the Pochote in the fall. During the spring of 2005 there
was uncertainty of where the market would be held. In June 2005,
the market divided with some of the vendors leaving and forming
In April 2006 textiles, including weavings, embroidery and
rugs, were banned from the Pochote Market by the decision supposedly
by the Toledo's group with a message that the market needed
to focus on food. A formal announcement or explanation was not
2006 was a tough year given the social protests. From August-October
vendors had to navigate past the barricades to sell their goods.
The market never closed, but sales plummeted in the second half
In 2008 after a tree died from a leak in the pond, hot food
In 2009 the announcement was made on May 15 that Francisco
Toledo was withdrawing the use of the Pochote
Cultural Center. No reasons were given for this decision.
The market closed its doors at the Arquitos
on August 1, three months short of its sixth anniversary. Some
of the members are heading off on their own, others to the atrium
and others to heading to Rayon #411 and Xicoténcatl (photos).
Cada dia quiero hacer las cosas mejor.
Con calma nos amanece.
No por mucho madrugar, amanece más temprano.
Nos honran con su visita.
Despues de crisis del estado, hay crisis en el mercado.
A number of current and former members have created their own
stores including Xiguela, Hidalgo #105 (photos)
and Yunhiz, Gonzalez Ortega #400. In addition there is the Ayuuk
store on the east side of the plaza in Santa María
OAXACA MARKET PROJECT
Pochote Market is documented in the Oaxaca
Market Project, an initiative of Planeta.com and friends
in Oaxaca. We ask visitors to print photos (seen
here archived on Flickr) and give them to the vendors. This
puts a new spin on the traditional 'take only photographs' mantra
by giving the photos back and raising awareness and increasing
purchases of traditional crafts and local food.
What might be a rushed visit becomes a search for familiar
faces and seasonal products. This guide encourages you to learn
about the markets before a visit. Enjoy!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS YOUR #1 SUGGESTION? -- Come early
and bring a large, strong bag.
WHAT UNPACKAGED FOOD PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE? -- Fruits
and vegetables that are in season. Also shallots, lettuce and
WHAT PACKAGED FOOD PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE?
-- Coffee, grasshoppers, mezcal.
CAN I TAKE COFFEE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY? -- Yes
for most countries, including the United States. You might want
to check ahead of time for specific customs regulations.
WHY ARE THE POTATOES COVERED IN DIRT? -- Farmers
in the Sierra
Juárez bring potatoes caked in soil as this is the
best way to keep the taters fresh.
ARE THE PRODUCTS CERTIFIED? -- Sort of. In
2008 the market began to use the services of Certimex to certify
products. Little information is passed on to consumers. Also,
many of the small mom and pop operations simply left the market
rather than participate in a complicated process.
The previous attempt was in 2006-2007 in which members self-certified
themselves. This also was not communicated well to the clients.
Certification in both cases focus on whether the products are
organic and does not review the process of distribution or recycling
nor put an emphasis on fair trade or local production.